So as promised, a kale and wild rice salad.  This is really inspired by the Emerald City Salad that they serve at PCC, but as I didn’t have any fennel and bell peppers are hardly using the bounty of our local fare, white satin carrots and red radishes took its place.  I also used some of our farm grown celery, which if you’re a celery eater is the most flavorful celery around, great for soups and roasts but is a bit pungent for salads by my taste.  The nice thing is the dressing, a simple lemon vinaigrette, really just brings everything together.

The trick with this salad is the kale. Just raw kale can be bitter, tough and slightly unappealing.  I usually end up braising mine or dunking it quickly in salted boiling water to soften and bring out its sweeter side. But for this salad the boiling water was too much, making it overly wilted.  Raw, the flavor just wasn’t there, so I compromised.  I first dunked the kale into salted 160 degree water, quickly draining and cooling it in cold water. It gave it the bright green color, nicely flavored and salted it and made it perfectly tender for eating! Enjoy.

1 bunch green kale, prepared as above

2 carrots halved and sliced

2 scallions chopped

6 radishes, halved and sliced

1 cup cooked and cooled wild rice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

The other trick to this dish is making the vinaigrette. Using a wood bowl, a heavy wooden spoon and some salt, I grind the garlic until it forms a bit of a paste with the salt.  To this I add the acids, in this case lemon juice, and then whisk in the oil.  This allows the oil to emulsify easily and coat everything. Add all of your ingredients to a nice big bowl, toss and sprinkle with dressing, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

This is one of my favorite salads and can be made with an infinite number of ingredients – roasted chiogga beets, fennel, artichokes, peppers, tomatoes, virtually anything makes a good match with this simple vinaigrette and the crunchy yet chewy texture of the wild rice and kale.

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